Well, TVs are certainly growing larger. They're not wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling yet, but we're getting there. Of more concern and reflective of the novel is the fact that we are more and more engaged with electronics and a virtual world than we are with each other in this one.
I'm reminded of another Bradbury work with a similar theme, a short story called "The Pedestrian." While everyone stays in their houses watching television with the blinds drawn, the protagonist chooses instead to go for a walk each night. This odd behavior is so threatening to the state that he is arrested. A totalitarian government cannot abide an individual who thinks for himself and acts upon truth--which brings to mind another great short story with the same theme, Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron."
I wish I had more faith in Americans' ability to think independently and to recognize when they are being emotionally manipulated with political propaganda. The repressive government and repressed society in Fahrenheit 451 did not spring up overnight. No doubt powerful people had pulled strings offstage and the majority of people in that society had failed to realize the fate that was slowly overwhelming them. A few knew and understood what had happened, just as Montag came to understand and then rebelled. For most people in the novel, they never knew what hit them, and they did not question. There are some frightening parallels at work in our own society, I fear.
Love him! There isn't one piece I've read by Bradbury that I don't like and that hasn't made me think. As long as people are reading...ebooks, audiobooks, printed books...then we are also thinking. We can't stop thinking for ourselves. The minute we do this and allow the government or someone else make our decisions for us, then yes, our society could go the way of 451.
Ray Bradubury's writings are quality works that have stood the test of time. Prophetic--no. Science fiction's job is to address the use of science and technology and how those elements can be abused and go awry. Any one of us could predict changes that will take place in our government in the future simply by analyzing the changes and events of the past. That might make him analytical, farseeing, but not prophetic.
Ray Bradbury was, indeed, prophetic as post #2 states. He said,
You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture; just get people to stop reading them.
How true is this? Bradbury foresaw how technology would get ahead of man in development. This concern was similar to that of Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World.
I do think that Raymond Bradbury is an incredible author with an ability to predict how society is developing and how those developments are going to have a negative impact on society. When I read Fahrenheit 451 or his shorter fiction it is hard not to realise that he managed to anticipate some of the changes in our society, especially concerning technology, and thus he paints a black picture of where we could be heading if we do not use that technology wisely.
All science fiction is rooted in some truth. We do, indeed, have the freedom to express ourselves through both writing and reading; we also have restrictions and limitations on our freedoms that would have been virtually unimaginable even a decade ago. Well, unimaginable by everyone but science fiction writers such as Bradbury.
Constant and continual governmental restrictions on personal freedom sure remind me of many of the scenes from Fahrenheit 451. Many of Bradbury's other short stories further prophecied many of the problems in our world today.
No, I do not think he is right. Sure, we are a pretty commercialized society and we probably spend too much time watching TV. But I do not think that there are any serious moves towards keeping people from freely thinking about things and discussing their views. We are not moving towards a society where thought is discouraged.
Perhaps even more importantly, we are certainly not being moved towards a loveless society. I think that we are, if anything, being encouraged to spend more time with our families and to build better relationships with them than used to be the norm back when people had to spend all their time working and did not have time to spend "quality time" with their loved ones.
Ray Bradbury's writing was prophetic. He wrote about things in Fahrenheit 451 that have come true. Books have been censored in the past, such as Huckleberry Finn because people thought it was racist, when it was nothing like that at all: it talked about a white fatherless boy becoming dear friends with a runaway slave. The message of this book conveyed hope.
Civilization's control over the free thoughts of the masses is taking place now as politicians and the government control what they want us to think and know. Wait for the election campaigns to get into full swing: then check the views that newspapers and news programming on TV are sending out to the public—THEN check the politics of the owners of the newspapers and tv stations. What we are hearing is often biased (though there are a few old school reporters who try to "tell it like it is." Others need the money, and have to conform.)
This is the case when we believe what advertisers say we should do and buy to be "cool." This make-up, that deodorant, this kind of car, that kind of clothing line: how do these things make us better? What drives advertisers? Money.
We rely too much on machines and not enough on our own intellect. We find ourselves unwilling to stand out as being different, and would rather be like others and do what they do.
If this sounds paranoid, so did Bradbury, and he was right on the money. Listen to your own intellect, recognize beauty and freedom for the true gifts they are, and think on your own. That's the world that Bradbury wanted for us.
Ray Bradbury was a giant in the science fiction community. His books are not only staples in the American school system, but his books are read for pleasure by just about anyone that can read. His books have remained in print ever since they were published.